Plushenko takes back national title after 4-year hiatus
Evgeni Plushenko of St. Petersburg (SPB) won the men’s 2010 Russian National title with a powerful, but flawed performance of his tango routine. Sergei Voronov (SPB) finished in second overall, while Artem Borodulin (MOS) maintained third place for the bronze.
Plushenko popped his planned opening quad toeloop into a triple, but immediately landed a clean one afterwards. He was not able to land his second triple Axel on the first try, and fell out of a triple Salchow landing immediately after the successful execution of that jump later.
“I went for the second quad because I missed the first one and had to do it to rectify the situation,” explained Plushenko. “I am happy that I was able to land a triple Axel in the end. Perhaps there was a certain euphoria right after it and this is why I fell on the Salchow.”
The student of Alexei Mishin was rather critical of himself at the post event press conference. “On the scale of five, I’d say it was a weak three. It’s impossible to win any major competition skating like that. I will work on it more and train more. But to some extent it’s a blessing in disguise. There was a lot competitions and I was skating better and better on every one of them, so it’s natural that there is a decline. The good thing is that it happened now, before the Europeans. I plan to do two quads at Euros: a quad-triple and quad solo.”
The 2006 Olympic Champion rearranged his program on the flight without previously consulting his coach. “I had a triple Axel-triple flip sequence, but decided not to do it because the Axel turned out to be a double.”
He posted another record breaking score of 171.50 (79.00/92.50) points for first place in the long and, with a total score of 271.59 points, easily won the event.
When challenged by the media about his marks, Plushenko was quick to point out that he is not the only one to score a notch or two above what he is getting internationally. “I am not the only one who has high scores here. Look at the second place in the Short Program – he got 95. Borodulin got 82. Do you think he skated like 82? It’s only natural, it’s Nationals.”
Borodulin finished second in the long program with 150.50 (67.70/82.80) points, but with a total score of 234.92 points, placed third overall behind Voronov. Though the skater popped his planned triple Lutz into a single in the second half of the program, he otherwise was very strong and landed both his triple Axels – one in combination with triple toeloop. The 20-year-old also landed four other clean triples and got the second highest program components score for his sharp and powerful interpretation of the tango.
“I have done nearly everything I’ve planned,” said Borodulin afterwards. “My only mistake was missing a triple Lutz. Perhaps I was a bit carried away by the fact that I landed two hard jumps and thought that everything else would be easy in comparison.”
Konstantin Menshov (SPB) delivered another good performance in which he landed a quad toeloop-double toe loop combination and a triple Axel, but he popped the second planned quad into triple and only did a double loop later in the program. The student of Evgeni Rukavitsin posted the second highest technical score of the night, but relatively low program component marks kept him off the podium.
Menshov received enthusiastic support from the home crowd, and while his routine to the music of the Saw II soundtrack had great energy and attack, he lacked the impact of his more experienced competitors. He scored 148.05 (70.97/77.08) points for a third place finish in the long and fourth overall (228.71 points).
Voronov maintained his second position overall (240.01 points) despite finishing only fourth in the long program with 144.37 (63.77/81.60) points. The skater had to fight for the landing of his quad toeloop, then he stepped out of his first triple Axel and fell on the second one. The mistakes discouraged the student of Alexei Urmanov, and even though he pulled himself together to finish strong, the middle of his routine to Schindler’s List fell flat.
“I would like to congratulate Evgeni and Artem,” Voronov later said. “They skated well today. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for myself. There were mistakes, there was a fall, but I kept fighting till the end. I can honestly say that I’ve done my best. I was not under pressure [after an excellent performance in the short]. I suppose I was just too tired.”
Denis Leushin (MOS) finished fifth in the long program (138.81 (65.83/73.78)) and overall (217.21). He did not attempt a quad and fell on the second jump of his triple Axel-triple toeloop combination. He also stepped out of another triple Axel attempt, but he had rather strong presentation skills and expressed the character of his program well.
Ivan Tretyakov slipped to sixth place after an error-filled performance to music from the Charade soundtrack. He did not attempt a quad Salchow, which he has landed in competition before, and popped an opening triple Axel into a single.
The event continues with the Pairs’ Long Programs.